EP Review | Illingsworth – this is how i win

This extended play was released on January 16th this year. Illingsworth is a Detroit rapper and producer who’s done a lot of work with Open Mike Eagle, as well as other Detroit artists such as Clear Soul Forces, Chris Orrick & Nolan the Ninja. He also produced my favorite song from Phonte’s last solo album, so shoutout to him for that. Anyway, the first time I ever listened to one of his actual solo projects was back in 2018 when he dropped You’re No Fun under Mello Music Group. I’d heard his beats before on different songs from the aforementioned artists, but You’re No Fun is when I really got a great idea of his musical style. Now I can recognize a beat from him without being told that he’s the one who made it, which is cool. He released a few extended plays late last year, which I didn’t get around to hearing until recently since I was still trying to catch up on the cornucopia of different releases. They’re fire though. trenches in particular is my favorite. I think that project is amazing, and it’s definitely one of my favorite instrumental releases of 2019. It actually might be my number one favorite. I have to think about it. Anyway, I’m expecting this project to be pretty great. I’m assuming it’s just instrumentals, but it might have a little rapping as well. I guess I’ll find out in the next 10 minutes.

1. all the lights glow

I really love the piano at the very beginning of this song. The vocal sample here is really nice too, and that signature synth that comes in after a few seconds is great. The piano keys that eventually come back in after about 30 seconds are absolutely euphoric. So yeah, I really love this beat lol. It’s a very detailed instrumental, yet the song is still short and sweet. You really don’t get a chance to get bored; it doesn’t overstay its welcome at all. This song is dope as hell.

2. border b

The vocal sample on this track is really dreamy; the higher pitched vocals sound angelic, and the deeper vocals are soulful as hell. The percussion sounds kind of glitchy too, which is really cool. That synth that eventually comes in sounds absolutely glorious as well. I think I might like this track even more than the opening song to be honest. Once again, it’s the perfect length. I really have no gripes with it. This shit is dope af.

3. smokeless

The piano loop on this track is really weird to me. The first half of it sounds really jazzy, but the second part kind of clashes with the rest of the beat in a jarring way. I don’t know why the image of Frankenstein’s monster pops into my head while listening to this song; for whatever reason I imagine him walking through a scaffolding and avoiding being killed by machinery, Mr. Magoo style. Anyway, this beat sounded pretty discordant to me at first, but it grew on me a lot on my second and third listens. It’s still far from a favorite of mine, but I definitely like it to some extent. It’s pretty good.

4. collarbones

This beat kinda reminded me of the weird blue motherfuckers from Avatar. I just envisioned them participating in some sort of celebratory ceremony in which they gather around and admit someone into their community. I guess the vocal sample in the song is being sung by the Avatar people. Are they aliens? Wait a minute… Are the giant blue creatures in Avatar just called avatars? Jeez, this is gonna be bugging me all day… Well, anyway, this is another highlight on this project for me. It kinda reminded me of the instrumental for Logic’s song, ’Til the End. It’s a bit more low-key than that one though. Once again, this song dope as hell.

5. drainage

I love the heavy synth on this track. The vocal sample is pretty cool too. I’m not exactly sure what instrument that is towards the end of the song; I imagine it’s something that’s played with keys similar to a piano or organ. Oh, maybe it’s just a keyboard. It’s that weird sounding instrument that was present all over the Napoleon Dynamite soundtrack. It’s also the first thing you hear in the song Huey by Earl Sweatshirt. If I had to guess I’d say it’s a keyboard, but I’m obviously not completely sure. I love that instrument though. It always sounds awesome to me. Anyway, I really love this beat, and it’s definitely another highlight on this EP for me. This shit is dope as hell.

This EP is really damn great. There’s not a single track here that I don’t care for. Every beat here is very detailed, and enjoyable to listen enough without any featured vocalists. I actually feel like these songs would be less enjoyable if someone tried rapping over them, but I guess you never really know unless you hear it. Anyway, this is actually the second best release I’ve reviewed all year so far, and I won’t be surprised if it ends up being a top 5 instrumental project for me. Illingsworth actually followed this project up with another EP already, which I’ll be reviewing soon. Come back on Monday to see my thoughts on that. EDIT: he just dropped another one last night lol. I’ll have a review for that later this month inshallah. In the meantime, be sure to check this project out. You won’t be disappointed. It’s really dope.

Favorite Song: border b
Least Favorite Song: Smokeless


A minus
Grade: A-

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